cemeteries

Late arrival in Buffalo, cabin rental 20 minutes west of Dayton.  Buffalo NY, Dayton Ohio?  Heck no.  I’m talking Wyoming.  In town for Saturday’s ultra, Bighorn.  One mile shake-out run along State Hwy 14, road trippin’ after breakfast.

Montana.  2 hours north on I-90.

Forty Mile Colony.  Lodge Grass.  Crow Agency.  Today’s destination: Little Bighorn Battlefield on the Crow Reservation.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn (commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand) was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which occurred June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.

 

The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall and had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. 7th Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, suffered a major defeat. Five of the 7th Cavalry’s twelve companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. The total U.S. casualty count included 268 dead and 55 severely wounded (six died later from their injuries), including four Crow Indian scouts and two Pawnee Indian scouts.

Purchased a guided tour at the Visitors Center, operated by Apsaalooke Tours (affiliated with the Crow Nation Office of Tourism).  Bus tour was led by an enthusiastic Apsaalooke [Crow].  Details of the battle & war strategy were painstakingly reviewed.  Additionally our guide shared his language, teaching [us] multiple native words: hello, goodbye, bird, coyote, mustang, mountain.

While I struggled with his accent & the story, the landscape around me was breathtaking.  LOVED being here.  Life is about seizing opportunity.  I could have laid low the day before Bighorn…but a short 2 hours away, engaged/partook/learned ‘bout Custer’s Last Stand, a significant piece of U.S. history – a story retold by descendants of the native people who won that battle.

Inspired, I needed to know – so, how did it all end?

After Custer’s defeat, Sitting Bull, along with his people, fled north to Canada.  In 1881, he returned to the United States to surrender.  Sitting Bull was killed by Indian police on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota on December 15, 1890.

Sad end to the Lakota spiritual leader – resisted westward expansion, in an effort to preserve the Lakota way of life.

 

 

Little Bighorn Battlefield

 

 

 

Who doesn’t yearn to visit a lawless Wild West town?  Welcome to Deadwood, South Dakota!

Seemed fitting I slept in a casino, ate dinner ‘bove an old saloon.  Breakfast’d next morning at Sheriff Bullock’s former hardware store.  Bullock rode with Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders & later attended his 1904 presidential inauguration.

It is said that “The inaugural celebration was the largest and most diverse of any in memory—cowboys, Indians (including the Apache Chief Geronimo), coal miners, soldiers, and students were some of the groups represented.”  This was to illustrate how diverse a man that Teddy Roosevelt really was.

SUPER Saturday.  Having already visited Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial & Mount Rushmore, didn’t arrive in Deadwood ‘til late afternoon.  Hotel check-in, clothes swap, got in my daily run.   Started at Days of ’76 Museum – ‘cross Main Street from Cadillac Jack’s (my casino bedroom, pre-Mother’s Day).   Followed Crescent Drive, down Dunlop & McKinley to Railroad Ave.  Hugged Wildwood Creek two miles ‘til it emptied into Deadwood’s historic downtown.  Nice trek.

Dinner reservations at Deadwood Social Club, like stepping back in time.  Housed above Saloon No. 10 – site where Wild Bill Hickok was assassinated by Jack McCall while playing a game of poker August 2nd 1876.  A+ atmosphere, limited non-cow menu.

Early to bed, early to rise.  Read the history of Deadwood’s first Sheriff Seth Bullock, while I stuffing down a morning omelet.  Quick downtown sightsee, then UP UP UP to Mount Moriah Cemetery.  Buried high above town, walked the long hill UP to Wild Bill & Calamity Jane’s gravesite.  Odd how many graveyards I find myself – it’s the history I love.

Badlands still on the list (& 2 Black Hills marathons 🙂 ).  I’ll be back, South Dakota.  I’ll be back.

 

 

pre-Mother’s day run

 

 

accountability partner end goals: Carolyn BQs (Boston qualify), I PR.  Both happen if we run sub 3:55 this year.

Been a long journey since May – whole lotta texts back n forth (Indiana to Colorado) – so couldn’t have been more surprised when Carolyn chose a race in West Virginia for her BQ.  Out of all 50 states, my run in Morgantown WV was the hilliest.

Never argue with a woman – I signed up 🙂   Not super easy to reach the coal mining lands of southern WV.  Boarded a mighty small connection in DC.  One by 2 seats across, prop plane.  Sunday’s marathon commemorates the university football team, who went down in a plane crash November 14 1970.  No survivors.  Team, coaches, prominent citizens.  Makes one think.

Arrived in Charleston, day ahead of my running pal (5 hours away in Indiana).  Woke Saturday to sunshine.  Added West Virginia to my capitol-dome tally, my tenth (LA TX IN IA AR AL CT DC & IL).  Was never a goal to see all 50…but have certainly enjoyed the journey. Quiet, still morning…just me & a parade of ground squirrels.  HUGE fan of both history & architecture.  FAAANNNTASTIC morn!

On the highway before noon, hour drive west to Huntington.  Bib pick-up, 50 State Marathon Club reunion & PASTA 🙂  (however no red sauce for me/stomach cancer irritant, but do love to carb load – YUM!)  Dumb luck re: the reunion — completely unplanned.  Have been to three in my life (Indianapolis, Falmouth Mass & Santa Rosa).  Always fun to connect with folks on a similar journey.  Humbling too.  More than handful of runners have collected 300+ medals.  That’s a whole lotta miles.

Buddy time.  Did a thorough campus walk.  ‘We are Marshall’ – snapped that shot plus one of Memorial Fountain.  Thankful I saw the movie this past week.  Made my experience much more impactful.  Tomorrow we’ll lay white roses at the fountain…last two-tenths of our run; marathon finishes in the football stadium.  Quick drive to Spring Hill Cemetery, then parted ways with my friend.

Tomorrow a.m. my 75th marathon – We are MARSHALL.

 

 

 

 

Marshall’s Memorial Fountain is a celebration of life

 

“They shall live on in the hearts of their families and friends forever, and this memorial records their loss to the university and the community.”

 

 

The Memorial Student Center Fountain is a tulip-shaped sculpture which will always serve as a reminder of Marshall University’s past and its future. Located in the plaza area on the campus-side of the Student Center building, this unique landmark stands as a monument to those who perished in the November 14, 1970 plane crash that killed most of the school’s football team.

 

This tragedy cut so deep because it involved more than the football team, coaching staff and school administrators. Also lost were some of the school’s strongest supporters. Doctors, attorneys, business people and civic leaders were also on board the ill-fated flight in which there were no survivors.

 

The fountain serves as a monument to honor those who died, but that isn’t the sole purpose for its existence. When the fountain was dedicated a few days before the second anniversary of the crash in November 1972, sculptor Harry Bertoia made it known that his creation was more about celebrating life as opposed to mourning the tragic deaths of the crash victims.

 

There’s strong symbolism associated with Memorial Fountain. The flowing waters from the fountain represent the continuation of life. Every year on November 14, the school conducts a memorial service which includes the traditional laying of the wreath at the front of the fountain. Once that part of the service is completed, the fountain’s waters are turned off until the next spring.

 

 

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